Latest articles


World Penguin Day at the Zoo with Sphenisco – Protection of the Humboldt Penguin e.V.

Landau, May 2, 2019
Did you know that April 25th is actually World Penguin Day? Even if it’s not generally known why this date was chosen and in what year it was first celebrated, the environmental group “Sphenisco – Schutz des Humboldt-Pinguins, e.V.” (founded in 2008 in Landau, Germany) sees this day as a very good opportunity to call people’s attention to the fact that the Humboldt Penguin’s main distribution area in Chile is doing extremely badly, and that on this day the Humboldt Penguin should be moved into the public’s focus! That was reason enough this year for the Landau Zoo and Sphenisco to use the First of May (a federal holiday) solely to send a signal out for the Penguins.
At the information and participation stand at the Landau Zoo, not just the little guests were able to learn many fascinating things about penguins. Who is who among the 18 different species of penguins that are distributed from New Zealand to Africa, and from there to South America in the southern hemisphere? Why is the Humboldt Penguin so threatened and what can each individual do in order to protect this species?

The motto of the day was “Turn the Zoo Guests into Species Protectors”. During both commented feedings, tips were given on how to buy sustainably-caught fish, how to avoid purchasing fertilizer with guano, and how to reduce plastic packaging. For overfishing, ocean pollution, the harvesting of guano on the breeding islands of the penguins and the therewith connected disturbances, as well as climate change are to blame for why the Humboldt Penguin is on the “Red List”. For many years, Sphenisco and its partners in Chile and Peru have been committed to setting up a marine protection area in the penguins’ main breeding area, located in northern Chile, in order to ensure the survival of the Humboldt Penguin.
A highlight of the day certainly was that at the end of the feedings, animal keeper Jan Müller briefly showed the guests a one-week-old penguin chick. It’s astounding that within 12 weeks, such a small chick will become as large as an adult penguin, will weigh about four kilograms, and will be able to forage for food by itself. Seven chicks have already hatched in the Landau Zoo this year, a beautiful success for the zoo and species survival within the framework of the EEP (European Endangered Species Programme). Petting the chick was naturally not allowed. If however, someone wanted to know what a penguin feels like, they could touch the silky-soft penguin feathers that were in a glass.

Sphenisco’s board members presented the work of the organization at another information stand, and its public relations work will be adding a new facet this year. The Ramsel Vineyard from Kirrweiler, Germany will immediately be offering an excellent, special-edition “Art Sphenisco” white burgundy, and a portion of the proceeds will be donated for the protection of the Humboldt Penguin, specifically for the creation of a marine protection area. The bottle label is decorated by print of an oil painting from the artist Andrea Ramsel, that shows a Humboldt Penguin in the Atacama Desert. The Ramsel family, along with their youngest son, supported this activity day with a first tasting of this new wine.
Traditionally, the activity day is supported by the Friends of the Landau Zoological Garden. The prize wheel hardly stood still, and with coffee and other drinks, ice cream and cookies, the visitors were very well provided for. The making of personalized buttons with wonderful animal themes and individual names has always been very popular, and was done again on this day. Whoever among the little guests wanted to also could, through children’s face painting, let themselves be transformed into a penguin or other beautiful animal. For the diligent zoo educators, there was hardly a chance for a break, so much were their talents requested.
Dr. Christina Schubert
Translated by Erich Greiner
Aktionen Aktionen Aktionen
Aktionen Aktionen Aktionen
Aktionen Aktionen